Thursday, May 7, 2015

Live reporting: Finance Committee - May 7, 2015 - Budget Hearing #4

Present: Dowd, Conley, Fleming, Smith, Dewsnap,  Aparo, Bertone
Absent: Dufour, Huempher

Jeff Nutting

minutes from May 4 meeting, 
motion to accept, seconded, passed 7-0

minutes from May 5 meeting, 
motion to accept, seconded, passed 7-0

Budget Presentations:

  • 177 Planning A-35
Bryan Taberner, Director of Planning and Community Development

one shift of a clerk to Planning from Town Admin as they support the Planning Board
couple of RFPs to be issued
did increase expenses to increase marketing

getting marketing assistance, attend conferences and distribute materials for us
working with local business and other government agencies is what we need to do
additional $10,000 for marketing
get the Town of Franklin's name out in conferences

what do other town's spend our size?
very little, very few communities do something like this, an investment like this is not common
looking to keep the buildings full and to maintain the assessed values

changed zoning laws, streamline permitting, added biotech
now is the time to market
worked with Franklin TV to do a video to market to businesses
get one business in here, it turns out to be a good investment

is the outreach NE or national?
they will market the materials to where ever they go

  • 610 Library F-1
Felicia Oti, Library Director
the library budget has struggled a couple of years ago
did get a waiver and we have been able to add money to the budget
programs are up, Sunday hours added
meet minimum hours to get state aid, still don't meet the minimum funding requirements
but given the work we have done, the Library Commissioners have better confidence in what we are doing

about to renovate the Library
good support from the Friends of the Library and the Library Association

only a 2% increase, level service otherwise
books and publications account for 100% of the increase
a wide variety of electronic media
9 programs weekly and 4 monthly

book sales are held monthly, averaging $1600/month
design still being done, will come to the FinCom and Council for funding
not sure how much of a disruption in service it will be due to the eventual construction

formula is based on a 3 year average
66 percent of the circulation checkouts are through self scan
need to be open a minimum of 59 hours to maintain state aid and inter-library services

we are doing something right, the Director of the Minuteman network came to look at our process and had us present on how we do it

  • 220 Fire B-13
Chief McCarragher, Deputy Sharpe
fire fighters haven't had an increase in 4 years, as the contract is still with the arbitrator
looking at response times, best guest estimate on the arbitrator award but nothing firm

the last 6 weeks we have been told our arbitration award would be here, and it still hasn't
48 firefighters and paramedics

emerging trend is that we are seeing multiple calls, over 400 times 2 calls, more and more we're getting the 3rd call; 140-160 times this year projected
8 minutes is the life time for us in response, 
looking to increase the budget over a period of 3-4 years and fully staff a 3rd ambulence
addressing succession planning, attempted a grant to help with the planning
over the next 6 years, 2/3 of the officers are projected to retire
collective bargaining agreement has a credit for college education
we are a technical trade and there are hands on things that the fire fighters need to know

we need to start taking better care of our fire fighters
how do we keep them healthy to retire out well
bi-annual physical, a physical prescription to keep them healthy
60% of the recent retirees did so with an injury
physical fitness needs to be improved, injuries 5-10 times greater than the average job

exposed to hazardous materials, effects of those don't get caught in the annual physicals

developing a hearing conservation program, only 49% of the fire fighters have normal hearing
the siren is in excess of OSHA levels, all those exposures generate hearing loss
with good audio testing and precautionary hearing, you can turn the tide

will be coming back in the next capital budget for new radios that will have ear muffs and a microphone to help

community outreach program, under direction of Keith Darling
targeted on fall prevention this year, 200 calls last year were fall related, if we could reduce that in half, we would have created capacity in the system as well as save the people health and time

home inspection, trip hazards, looking for extra funds to expand the program

we don't know what our salaries will be
health issues and simulatneous calls are the big issues

one was out on long term injury, now going out as 'retired'

what is the loss of income on the mutual aid?
it pales in comparison to staffing the ambulence

Calls to 656 King St are frequent
we have new cliental with new staff
Deputy Sharpe has spoken with them and we have already seen a reduction in activity

our minuimum staff right now is 9, we would have liked to keep it at 10
over time, we want to get to 12
our folks dug themsleves into the residence and then dug themsleves out to get our residents help

9.74 persons/day
full shift should be 12, long term injuries are keeping us from that

The Lincoln St proposal was denied

12 minutes for mutual aid coming from other towns, Bellingham, Norfolk, and Wrentham
we need to find out we need one, then call, and then they need to respond

  • 225 Regional Dispatch B-24
we are at the forefront of regional dispatch
14 Sharon Ave in Norfolk
conceptual design
meeting in a couple of weeks to get to the next steps
Executive Director, IT person, train folks
ultimately you'll see elimination of dispatchers from the police and fire budgets
as this goes forward

expenses early on would be personnel expenses
Commonwealth will pay for the building and the equipment
vast majority of the cost will be personnel

it is an assessment, not necessarily as the same level of  detail as a department budget

we are trying to recruit an Executive Director
we want them to be aware of whar is goign on so when it opens, they are ready

phased opening approx 18 months from July
construction shouldn't take long, get the technology installed

47% of the assesssent, based upon call volume and population
at least initally, once open for a few years we can re-look at it

no money spent nor will be spent by June 30th
it is delayed and frustrating, we could have been open two years ago

once we are up and running, we would love to have other join
the issue is really antennas, repeaters, and phone lines
it doesn't cost that much more
I think that is three or four years away

the Town meeting in Norfolk is next week

we'll have some advantage of using the vendors to do some training
we can hire some of our folks as part time and train them
there is also some transitional money available from the state grant
the state should be full funding this but how well we compete and the timing will be key

merging four procedures into one set of procedures
we are the only ones with both police and fire dispatchers

  • 422 DPW D-1
Robert (Brutus) Cantoreggi, Director DPW
no personnel changes, other than contractually obligated
would like to do more but it is not practical
rely on Chapter 90 for paving
Laurie Ruszala, Water/Sewer Supervisor
Kathy Mooradd, Office Manager

more fields, to maintain, did up the funding for supplies

snow/ice did remain the same
experimented with GPS tracking for the contractors 
really about customer service, we can go online and see who is where
sometimes the folks are right, the road was missed, sometimes, he had just been by and is on his way back, so it has worked out pretty well
only $13,000 on a million dollar budget but it is worth it

gasoline dropping down, usage down and anticipating the gas pricing with new contract going down as well

recycling center did go up slightly, now open on Sundays
for customer service, if any has used it recently
we have put in walls and trees, we take styrofoam and other things
working out well, it is becoming more of a reward

budgeting a five year rolling average without the high and low
should be up about 50,000 but it wasn't worth the hassle to juggle

could get some FEMA money, about 75% of the 330,000 storm but not likely to come in before the end of the year

  • 424 Streetlights D-17
we used to budget and then a couple of years ago we bought all of them from NationalGrid
contractor hired to maintain the lights
there is a lot of underground wiring and when that fails, it is expensive but we are saving big overall
we pay the electricity, we have about 1600 street lights
LEDs currently have a 9 year payback, but it doesn't seem to be affordable right now
when prices come down, it might be worth it
we replace 20% of the street lights each year, shouldn't mix them on a street for the safety of the drivers
  • 440 Sewer Enterprise H-2
biggest number is the assessment from the Charles River Sewer
we are about 65% of the business
increase coming due to work being done, but we have prepared for that so that there should not be a rate increase
we have very low debt for our sewer, and no plans for it
we have taken 600,000 gallons of sewer by fixing pipes and leaks
we have saved it but are still 65% of the costs

the Beaver St intersepetor, runs long 140 between the railroad track and Mine Brook
trying to reduce the flows before replacing the pipe
would proably need $10M to replace it and may not even be able to put it where it is

please don't through Swifters in the toilets
recycle or garbage, the Swifters can clog up the sewer pumps

Mine Brook, Shepards Brook are the other two interceptors that are owned and maintained by the Charles River Sewer District

we only have the one at Beaver St

  • 450 Water Enterprise H-9
did a couple of additions here, water distrbution equipment
our staff is actually doing installation of water lines
we need to buy the pipe to do the work but the labor is done in house
doing a building needs assessment, an asset management plan
structural and life expectancy evaluation beng done by an outside

  • 434 Solid Waste Enterp H-16
going down and the rate is going down, re-negotiated a good contractor
trash business is down, and competition is increasing
got together with some 30+ communities to negotiate the tipping fees from 74 to 64
then an increase by 3/4 of the CPI
finished negotiating with our collection contractor so we are able to keep the budget under control and drop the rates from $216 - $200

rate now lowest it has been

recycling cost have no risen, there is no market for recycling

thanks to Chris White, Brutus and the whole team

there will be a program to enforce the cleanliness of the total
not mixing trash with recycling, not mixing recyling with trash

will pick a random week, and get rating based upon how clean we are

Franklin is a role model for water conservation
average daily 65 gal/per person day is target
currently at 49 gal/day per person

what wasn't discussed whar the storm water restrictions, finally
it could be another million next year, then 2-3 million and up to 60 million over the next several years

only numbers that should change will be fire dept due to the award, and debt budget due to financing 3.2 million in bonds, Norfolk County Ag could change

pending those changes, we should be good

motion to approve the following budgets
long listing of budget items (sheet to be added later)

The Town Administrators letter to the Council on the budget can be found here

the budget was approved by a 7-0 vote

the budget then goes to Town Council for Jun 10-11

Nutting - there will be upward pressure on the budget, there is some money set aside, but when that comes it will be a Council decision on level of service to be provided. An increase in commercial/industrial business doesn't really increase our services. Residential housing does by putting pressure on the schools and other programs. if we can take some emergancy runs off the table and keep the fire fighters healthier, that helps us.

request for fund for an OPEB actuary study
more likely to get FinCom to the Town Council and cover all at once

motion to approve $10K from free cash to find the actuary study

next meeting? we'll leave it open, maybe something in June, not sure

any renewal of appointments are up in June, let Diane know

library issue some time during the summer? or Sep/Oct
the Senior Center project might need some more money, not sure of the timing

motion to adjourn, seconded, passed 7-0

Note from the prior budget hearings can be found here

Tuesday - May 5

Monday - May 4

Thursday - Apr 30

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